There are many places that are on my wanderlust list — pretty much anywhere in Europe, East Asia, and the East Coast of the US, to name just a few.
But it may be surprising to hear that the place on the very top of my list is India.
I’ve been back to the motherland twice, once when I was back in middle school (a trip of which I remember next to nothing) and another trip during my senior year of high school. While I remember more of the latter trip, visiting family, seeing the Taj Mahal, riding a water scooter in Goa, the thing that I most want to return to is the food. It should come as no surprise that as a teenager, my palette was not as sophisticated as it is now and my penchant for trying new foods was at an all time low, even when those foods were a part of my own Indian upbringing.
I used to avoid everything from raw onions to cilantro to extra spicy foods — and anything that didn’t include paneer or potatoes. Trust me when I say, it’s really hard to do all of those things with Indian food. Lucky for my own tastebuds, I’ve spent the last few years eating some humble pie and admitting that my foodie checklist was incorrect. Now I actually crave the freshness that cilantro brings to all my favorite Indian foods, and I need that tinge of spice and crispness that chopped red onion brings to a dish.
So let’s get to the basics and put all those things that I now need from my Indian food into one little handheld treat – aloo tikki. Aloo tikki literally translates to potato cutlet. Aloo = potato, tikki = cutlet, cake, croquette, etc. If you’ve been to an Indian wedding or almost any Indian restaurant, you’ve probably had this little potato cake in one form or another.
It all comes together with some mashed potato and spices that you fry up and then serve with chutney. It’s so easy to put together, and I definitely eat more than my fair share from the buffet at any weddings I attend.
For this version, I took a nod from Pav Bhaji, another Indian snack/street food that brings together soft bread rolls and a mashed and spiced vegetable mix. It’s the perfect nod to summer as we all head out to the grill and look for easy recipes to whip up and eat by the pool. Plus, these sliders will make your vegetarian-friendly guests feel much more excited about a burger option than giving them a frozen patty option.
The tikkis come together quickly, and the rest of the toppings are up to you! I love a bunch of fresh cilantro on these sliders in place of regular greens, but you could for sure use something like chopped arugula. Some thinly sliced red onion adds that bitter freshness, and a tomato slice and lime juice would really round these guys out. While these aloo tikki sliders would be great with just mayo and ketchup, I think a healthy drizzle of chutney makes these extra special.
Here’s how to make a classic mint chutney:
Add a bunch of cilantro, some mint, a chile of choice (like a jalapeño or serrano depending on your heat preferences), lemon juice, salt, and spoon of sugar into a blender and mix until smooth!
I wish I had ratios for y’all, but I really just taste and adjust as I mix the green chutney together until I get the flavor I’m looking for. For these sliders, I blend the chutney with some avocado or even greek yogurt to get a thicker sauce that will act as a mayo replacement. It’s so good and my favorite thing to spoon onto these burgs.
This recipe is basically the ultimate mash up of who I am: burgers are the ultimate American food, and the spicy Indian patty is an homage to the flavors I grew up with. I hope y’all love it as much as I do and add it to your summer barbecue itinerary!
- 2 medium russet potatoes, about 350g of potato
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 3/4 tsp chaat masala
- 3/4 tsp of salt
- 1/2 tbsp of arrowroot powder or cornstarch
- 1/2 of a serrano pepper, de-seeded and chopped (optional depending on heat preferences)
- 2 - 3 tbsp of oil for cooking
- Boil the potatoes using your preferred method. I clean and wash my potatoes, peel and cube them, and place them into a stove top pot. Cover with water and bring up to a boil until the potatoes are tender, about 15 - 20 minutes. Drain and add the cooked potatoes into a large mixing bowl. Let your potatoes cool completely before proceeding.
- Once your potatoes are cooled, mash them, it's okay to have a few lumps. Add all of the spices and arrow root powder to the mashed potatoes and stir until the spices are evenly distributed. Taste and adjust spices and salt as needed.
- Add the chopped serrano pepper to the spiced potatoes and mix to combine. *OPTIONAL - for extra flavor and texture, you can sauté some chopped onion and peas in a pan until the onions are translucent. Let cool and add to the potatoes at this stage.
- To a stove top pan, add the oil and bring up to a medium heat. While the oil is heating up, form the potato patties depending on the size and number of burgers/sliders you're making. For sliders, I used about 2 - 3 cookie scoops worth of the spiced potato, forming a patty in my hands that was about an inch thick.
- Once the oil is heated up, place the patties in the pan in an even layer, cooking for about 6 - 8 minutes per side until they are golden brown. Remove from the pan and place onto a paper towel to soak up any extra oil.
- Assemble with desired ingredients onto sliders, enjoy!